AMI is a project between two good friends, Paul Marchand-Perarnau and Willy Roulendes. Paul was previously a sommelier, is an excellent blind taster, has experience in farming and winemaking, and spent some time selling wine for Dynamic Vines in London. Willy on the other hand, has 20 years experience in winemaking. Together they have created a domaine/négoce operation in the Maranges valley, in the south of the Côte de Beaune. Willy had spent time working at Domaine de Montille in Puligny-Montrachet and Paul at La Maison Romane in Vosne-Romanée. The pair met and worked at Clos du Moulin aux Moines in Auxey Durresses (where Willy is still the head winemaker), before Paul moved to Provence to work at Domaine Hauvette. But after being apart, they came to the realisation that they wanted to work together again, and to make wines of their own accord. And so, AMI was born, with their first vintage realised in 2014.
The pair own 2ha of vines, and also purchase around 4ha worth of organic grapes from friends in various villages throughout the Côte-d'Or. During harvest, they work with their friends to pick the grapes at the time they see fit – in some cases earlier and in some cases later than the grower – to achieve the balance and style they wish to produce. As they grow their operation, they are increasing their holdings, and also the villages in which they purchase grapes from. Expect to see some Pommard, Pommard 1er Cru, Chablis and a few other surprises in the future. They are also in the process of obtaining organic certification for their own vines, and to have certification on all of their labels. They want to show that they are taking no shortcuts. It is becoming more and more relaxed in Burgundy – perhaps in all of France and the rest of the world too – where people are buying chemically farmed grapes and selling their wines as ‘natural’ and misleading the public. They want to be transparent about their practices so that their customers know what they are buying. There is a cost associated with having the certification present on the labels, which they are now in a position to be able to afford.
In the cellar, they vinify using indigenous yeasts, and without temperature control. No temperature control requires a high level of attention to detail. Without temperature control, there is no set formula, and so each year it is different, and decisions need to be made in line with the present moment. The reds macerate for around 10-15 days - the first 4 days they are left untouched, so it is slightly carbonic. They then do gentle pigéage and remontage, before the wines finally go into old barrels (they never use new oak). There is no bâtonnage for the whites - it is not necessary as they like to keep a lot of lees in the barrels. After a year, the wines then go into tank to settle for a month before being bottled. The other reason for this is that without temperature control, the cellar temp can rise to 18-19 degrees, increasing the risk of VA and other unwanted attributes. Moving the wine to tank is cooler which means they don’t need to use as many sulfites. There is never fining or filtration, and there are no additions except for 10-30 ppm SO2 just prior to bottling. They are aiming for zero SO2, but it depends on the year and how the wines are looking - having a quality wine takes first priority.
Production is small and so allocations are very limited. You will find these wines in some of the best restaurants and caves in France and throughout the world, and we are very lucky to have them here in Australia. It is my absolute pleasure to be able to represent AMI - it's been inspiring to see these wines improving each year, and they are of extremely good value in an ever-increasing market.